Photo: Pakutaso, Flickr/Banzai Hiroaki
national

School lunch noodles fried so hard that children and teachers chip teeth

47 Comments
By Scott Wilson, SoraNews24

Japanese schools are well known for providing healthy, balanced lunches for students, especially compared to other certain countries where fries and pizza are the lunchtime norm.

But despite their excellent track record, every now and then there’s going to be a slip-up. That’s what happened on March 11 at Asaka Daigo Elementary School in Asaka City, Saitama Prefecture.

Seven people, one teacher and six students, ended up with chipped teeth after eating the school lunch, and three of the children had to go to the hospital. The cause of their injuries: the noodles were fried too hard.

The meal in question was sara udon (“plate udon”), a dish from Nagasaki that puts cooked vegetables and meat on top of fried noodles. Unlike other udon dishes, the noodles are supposed to be crispy, rather than soft and chewy.

Apparently what went wrong was the cooking time for the noodles. Instead of being fried for two to three minutes as they should be, they were fried for 10 minutes, turning them extremely hard. The staff who cooked the food on-site at the school did not have instructions for the correct cooking time and opted to fry them longer because “they didn’t look done yet.”

What’s more, the previous day, sixth-grade children were served donuts that had expired a year ago, due to a delivery mistake.

The school’s lunch department has said that they are taking measures for this to not happen again, but Japanese netizens had a lot of pressing concerns:

“The kids are told to eat everything, so they did, even if it hurt them.”

“They’re supposed to eat quietly too, so they couldn’t even ask for help.”

“Awful, imagining them forcing themselves to eat something so hard.”

“And the donuts too… what is going on there?”

“I can’t believe the teacher broke their tooth too.”

Source: NHK via Hachima Kiko

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© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

47 Comments
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Arrest the head cook, and throw them in the slammer! They need to be held responsible for their actions!

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

were served donuts that had expired a year ago due to a delivery mistake.

A year ago? Delivery mistake?

My God, where were they kept for one year and nobody noticed that.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

In America all the school lunches are made exclusively by the Nifda Company. And most of it is awful. I remember picking up a crusty square pizza slice and grease as thick as motor oil dripped from it.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

that's the trouble when you leave people to make life-decisions for themselves.... Min of Ed should introduce an AI system coupled with a smapho app.... to judge for people, what's good to put in their mouth, and what's not.....

6 ( +6 / -0 )

seriously though.... that photo's a bit gratuitous isn't it?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I never eat without testing if food is from the outside, unknown.

Why would you risk chipping a tooth ? If it was hard, moreover, you could easily see it.

And no one to notify the others ?

What went wrong ?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japanese schools are well known for providing healthy, balanced lunches for students

Hang on! There may very well be a few schools that serve healthy lunches but all of the 25 or so schools I worked in (Jr/Sr high & colleges) did not have healthy foods on the menu. The means were high in salt and chemical preservatives. A couple of the private schools I worked in only had a canteen shop where the kids were pretty living on cup noodles. My experiences are quite contrary to this report.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Isn’t the norm for school lunches to overcook everything and add no flavor whatsoever as to not offend the parents of the children. Then they go and do this? Numb skulls.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This is a ‘sensitive’ issue. Yet, we wonder, ‘Are there other, more ‘*sensitive’ **National news **warranting our concern today? “...Japanese netizens had pressing concerns”***.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@starpunk

My High School has Mcdonalds, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. We had the regular school lunch also, but no one ate it.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Have these people ever cooked before?? Did they even try one to see if it was done?

What’s more, the previous day, sixth-grade children were served donuts that had expired a year ago, due to a delivery mistake.

*

I can just see a crate of expire donut rattling around (and I mean dried up and rattling) in the back of a delivery truck for a year before being delivered.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

starpunk,

school lunches are made exclusively by the Nifda Company

Tyson, Kraft, Saga are but three companies that make school lunches (and breakfasts). I suspect the NIFDA company made lunches in your hometown/state but not every state/school district hires the same company.

Second, couldn’t the cooks check? As in, taste the noodles? This fiasco is wrong on so many levels: bad cooks, students not paying attention to their food, and bad food administrators.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Second, couldn’t the cooks check? As in, taste the noodles? This fiasco is wrong on so many levels: bad cooks, students not paying attention to their food, and bad food administrators.

They are not chefs, they dont taste test food! They are paid to cook and are not responsible for "flavor"!

(sarcasm!)

9 ( +9 / -0 )

“The kids are told to eat everything, so they did, even if it hurt them.”

“They’re supposed to eat quietly too, so they couldn’t even ask for help.”

I presume ‘eat quietly’ means the kids aren’t allowed to chat, which is awful because a meal time should be a social occasion. This time is especially important at school because it’s a time for the kids to switch off from the formality of the classroom and enjoy the time with their friends.

I know, I know, this is a Japanese school. We laugh and joke and compare them to prisons - but eating in silence, not being able to speak out even when physically hurt, and having to eat everything sure sounds prison-y to me.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

OMG! The dangers of Japanese school lunches. Noodles fried too hard, grapes too big, and moldy bread. Suga better get on this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No one is perfect, and anything could go wrong, and so always check and Q those who are in authority.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not to disturb your strange discussion, but a school is a place for teaching and learning, not a luxury restaurant and also not a healthy restaurant. And that school reported about above is no school at all as it didn’t even teach or allow for complaints about wrongly prepared and old food, but breaks the will and personality of the children and pressures the students to eat anything without thinking. Such a crazy inhuman facility has to be closed immediately. It’s not a place to send young children in and even adults are probably rather endangered there.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I'm sure it's true, but Something is amiss with this story.

If the udon was deep fried to such hardness, it's not a matter of a taste test, but a simple observation.

Were all children - must have been many - forced to eat the udon? How many didn't?

Some other specialties of Japanese cuisine include extremely hard things like some senbei (rice crackers), peanut crackers, etc. I wonder if these also crack kids teeth.

Bottom line to this incident is that presumably no-one - or very few - in positions of authority, thought to say anything pre-eating and / or while eating so as to avoid the incident.

Why?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese schools are well known for providing healthy, balanced lunches for students, especially compared to other certain countries where fries and pizza are the lunchtime norm.

Which "certain countries" would these be? Taiwan? Korea? Any of Japan's neighbours? Or perhaps further afield? Thailand? Russia? India? Even further? Dubai? Egypt? Italy? Or perhaps this article is comparing Japan with America. Why?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Really? I mean.. really? Unless there were rocks in there how did more than one person chip a tooth? If there were rocks in the food, you’d thing the first “ittai-!!!” would influence the others to chew cautiously.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Chipped teeth from fried noodles? What were the noodles made off? Stone? Diamonds?

What’s more, the previous day, sixth-grade children were served donuts that had expired a year ago, due to a delivery mistake.

Delivery mistake? Could be. But who on earth keeps donuts that had expired a year ago? It may happen you forget one or two at home, inside your cupboard or so. But as a company, you don't keep track of your stock? And what's more, you then ship it off, without knowing what it was?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sounds like the cook didn’t try his/her food before serving. With this approach anything can go wrong and get unnoticed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Years ago I worked briefly at a high school, was given the previous teachers lunch coupons, after 2 days handed them back. It was a disgusting lunch. I don’t know how students or staff could hold it down. Conformity even in the face of disgusting foods trumped taste buds. I just made my own lunch after that. Just because you are told something is wonderful doesn’t make it wonderful.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The reason people become local mayors is not the power drive, but the presents they get for giving contracts to the school lunch food catering companies.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

but all of the 25 or so schools I worked in (Jr/Sr high & colleges) did not have healthy foods on the menu.

Really, you were in the kitchen, you verified the ingredients?

30 years I have been in Japan never once saw anything you describe.

2 Children all Japanese public schools and again never heard or seen such as you describe.

Perhaps the food was not to your liking but I doubt it varied far off the ministry standards and not as you are trying to make it seem.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The reason people become local mayors is not the power drive, but the presents they get for giving contracts to the school lunch food catering companies.

Do you have evidence of that?

Actually most municipal schools have kitchens on premises and the workers are municipal employees.

Schools without kitchens are usually supplied by the closets school with kitchens and delivered by contested service.

Private school often use outside catering services.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe this is a sign of progress. Normally when I read about incidents at school meals in Japan, it involves outbreaks of mass dysentery.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Cricky

Because you didn't like the lunch does not make it disgusting.

I have had hundreds found them just fine as did both my children.

I have noticed one thing in 30 years here.

Most western ALT that complain about school lunches have poor diet and eating habits.

On young lady I worked with refused to even try the lunches and right after school was at McDonald's wolfing down fries, burgers and nuggets along with a "diet" drink.

Talk about disgusting food.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Bottom line to this incident is that presumably no-one - or very few - in positions of authority, thought to say anything pre-eating and / or while eating so as to avoid the incident.

Why?

Because that’s the effect the schooling system has! Here it is working in full force.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

More like udon't.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Man I LOVE katai-yakisoba but it is INSANE this story, why on earth continue to, attempt, to eat something so hard........just nuts, illustrates one of the big problems with always doing the group thingy, in this case just keep going till teeth start chipping!!

When I get my plate of katai yakisoba first thing I always do is apply a bit of pressure here & there to break up the noodles a bit before eating, if it was tooth chipping hard would be pretty obvious there was a problem....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find it hard to imagine chipping teeth on noodles, regardless of how long they were cooked. The people with chipped teeth must have had brittle teeth. My family and I regularly gnaw on bones in our stews. We have never had any trouble. Or maybe they had odd chewing form? Biting at weird angles?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"...were served donuts that had expired a year ago due to a delivery mistake..." Damn, somebody could chip a tooth on one of those...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To those claiming “you’d be able to see if somethings hard”... I also chipped my tooth on a seafood pizza that I bought from a Japanese supermarket some years ago - it was baked in their own stone oven. The squid pieces on top were stone hard. Looked normal (=soft/chewy), but really wasn’t. Haven’t touched a seafood pizza after that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The noodles are deep fried and very firm until combined with the stirfried topping whose moisture softens them. This means you would not know the noodles are actually inedible until you put the topping on at serving time. At serving time, the "eat in silence" (maybe stricter than normal with Covid) and "finish your plate" rules kick in.

Since the noodles are deep-fried, this dish is very high in calories. Stir fries are usually very high in sodium (or tend to be tasteless, especially if you don't use MSG or some other form of umami), so maybe this is a "treat" menu for the kids, as suggested by the cooks having no experience of making it. Its far too unhealthy to be on a regular kyushoku menu for elementary kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Arrest the head cook, and throw them in the slammer! They need to be held responsible for their actions!

I don't know about that but at least compensation should be paid and the cook should be fired for negligence.

My son broke his tooth at school and the school took him to the dentist nearby. Of course they paid for it. A week later, we had to take him to the dentist for the follow-up. The school offered to pay for the bill if it is over 5000yen. The bill ended up being 4900yen which we had to pay entirely. Dang it!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese schools are well known for providing healthy, balanced lunches for students, especially compared to other certain countries where fries and pizza are the lunchtime norm.

Are they? Well known where?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

borschtToday  07:58 am JST

starpunk,

school lunches are made exclusively by the Nifda Company

Tyson, Kraft, Saga are but three companies that make school lunches (and breakfasts). I suspect the NIFDA company made lunches in your hometown/state but not every state/school district hires the same company.

Second, couldn’t the cooks check? As in, taste the noodles? This fiasco is wrong on so many levels: bad cooks, students not paying attention to their food, and bad food administrators.

NIFDA is a monoply. School lunch only, not for anything or anybody else. I know, I used to work in the kitchens back then. When I was in kindergarden to fourth grade we had hired cooks and it was great. After that the NIFDA monoploy took over. Maybe they lace it with 'special spices' so we can believe all the BS about history, drug ed and sex ed that they feed us or don't tell us about. Then you have generations of ignoramuses and American Idiots.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@HBJ

If it is like my daughter's school, the eat in silence thing is a temporary COVID rule. The kids have to take their masks off to eat, so they all sit facing the same direction and eat silently. Once they have finished and put their mask back on, they are free to go back to normal.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That being said, the not being allowed to ask for help thing is a bit weird.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, quite a crowd here.

Hilarious to see all the people who are finally letting out their frustrations on Japan. “Jail the Cooks! Japanese schools have crap food! They haven’t got a clue how to be healthy”.

Says a lot more about YOU than the situation there.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Due to the hit-or-miss quality issues at Japanese schools (well-covered above), Mrs. Affist made bentos for our children from pre-school all the way through secondary school (and while making their, she made mine too.) I know that not all families have the ability to do that, but I am extremely grateful for her doing so, especially when I read stories like this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In Japanese schools, and hospitals for that matter, a nutritionist makes the menus, not a cook. So the meals aren't the greatest tasting, but they probably helped to make Japan the only developed nation with a childhood obesity rate under 5% (3.3%). The USA stands at over 18%.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I am supprised that the cooking staff have never cooked this meal before, if they haven't, they should have done a dummy run just to make sure its right, as for serving up donuts that are year out of date?? come on, they only way a donut can remain looking a donut it would have to be frozen, other wise it would be a pile of mould. I think the school cooks have some questions that need answering.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

School dinners for me consisted of hardtack and swill. A chipped tooth was the least of your worries.

To the tune of Frère Jacques:

School dinners, school dinners,

Concrete chips, concrete chips,

Soggy semolina, soggy semolina,

Toilet quick, I feel sick.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In America all the school lunches are made exclusively by the Nifda Company.

Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association ???

The schools in the US I am familiar with cook their own foods in their own kitchens.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm sure there are schoolkids grateful for just being able to have something to eat. Even in Japan, there are still kids who don't get enough to eat at home. It's sad, but true.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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